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Sen. Marsha Blackburn didn’t make white power symbol at Justice Jackson’s confirmation hearing

A photo of Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn is being circulated out of context with the false claim that she flashed a white power hand signal at the April 7 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. But the photo was from a different meeting held the same day. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet that says “GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn flashing a white power symbol during Justice Jackson’s confirmation hearing. Please retweet to spread awareness of this hatred from the Republican Party.” The tweet includes a photo of Blackburn in which the thumb and forefinger of one hand are touching. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says "FALSE."
Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn did not flash a white power symbol. with her hand at the April 7 confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
A photo of Blackburn was taken on April 7 during a different hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
A spokesperson for Blackburn contacted by Reuters described the claim involving her hand position as “fabricated” and “beyond absurd and completely false.”

NewsLit takeaway

The “OK” hand symbol has been associated with white nationalism since 2017, when a trolling hoax spread from the internet message board 4chan to some segments of the far right and white supremacist movements. Since then, the symbol has been used by some white nationalists as a way to provoke outrage, and has inspired other viral rumors, including about President Joe Biden, Roger Stone, Kyle Rittenhouse and a contestant on Jeopardy. Besides invoking a complicated and often incidental troll gesture, this rumor includes two more red flags: It makes a strong appeal to partisan rancor and explicitly asks for retweets.

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